My 3 Monsters: May 2008

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Happy Birthday Brent!

In honor of my husband's 36th Birthday, here (in no particular order) are 36 reasons why I love this guy:
  1. He's nice. He's kind. Yes, he's nice and kind. (Kids, thanks for the help.)
  2. He has as much gray hair as I do.
  3. He's funny.
  4. He's comfortable to be around.
  5. He likes my cooking.
  6. He's inappropriate, but rarely crosses the line. Anymore.
  7. He thinks I'm pretty.
  8. I think he's pretty darn handsome.
  9. He comes from a great family.
  10. He gets up with the kids at night.
  11. He takes care of his family.
  12. He pulls his weight (and then some) around the house.
  13. He laughs at my (lame) jokes.
  14. He makes his own lame jokes. Over and over again. ("Maybe you should take the car instead of running to the store." Har har har.)
  15. He taught me everything I know about doing a crossword puzzle well.
  16. He is competitive with me.
  17. He supports my (sometimes silly) goals. Run a half marathon?! Sure, you can do it.
  18. He measures his success by the happiness of his wife and children, not the model year of his car or the zeroes on his paycheck.
  19. He has just enough zeroes on his paycheck to keep us comfortable.
  20. He's young at heart.
  21. He smells nice.
  22. He's good at Sudoku. (From, Sydney)
  23. He makes phone calls for me when I really need him to.
  24. He kindly encourages me to make my own phone calls. (I have a bit of anxiety about that.)
  25. He's a family man.
  26. He always has an opinion about home decorating projects. And he never fails to remind me that he took Design 101, too.
  27. He's smart.
  28. I feel safe when he's around.
  29. He's always looking for ways to help others.
  30. He has a strong testimony and faith in the Lord.
  31. I've never had a better, more devoted friend.
  32. He dislikes clutter.
  33. He's proud to be a Canadian.
  34. He likes to shop for shoes. (Many a date night have been spent at DSW.)
  35. He keeps things in perspective.
  36. He shares his opinions with sometimes reckless abandon. And people STILL like him. (He gets away with saying things that most people wouldn't even dream of.)

So, there you have it. I married a great guy. I'm a lucky, lucky girl. And don't be jealous that I'll be eating that delicious trifle with my handsome husband tonight. Nanny, nanny, boo, boo!


OK, It's Also About the Kids.

We also love summer here in Arizona because of the water parks. The kids and I can go hang out here all day for, I kid you not, $3. Not $3 each, $3 TOTAL. It is too much fun. They love the lazy river and the "toilet bowl" best. Yes, the toilet bowl. (Some people call it a vortex or a whirlpool. Not my kids.) Good times. The city heats the water for spring break so we have already taken advantage of this little perk. Guaranteed we'll go back, and soon. Summer in the desert really isn't as bad as you all may be thinking.


It's All About the Shoes.

I'm not really crazy about 115* heat, but summer does have it's upsides. First and foremost, the shoes. I love these bad boys. Brent hates them. (Ha ha. I think I love them a little extra because he hates them for some sick reason.) I would wear them every day, but I only have one outfit that they match and you can't really pull off bedazzled cork wedges in December. (I don't care who you are.) Also, don't you love the glittery french pedicure? I did it myself. Fun, huh? I guess summer is not so bad.


Growing Pains

This blog is still trying to decide what it wants to be when it grows up. I hope the rebellious teen years won't be too uncomfortable for any of us. Bear with me as we try out some new things. And be warned, I'll NEVER be satisfied. You'll never know what to expect so come back soon and often!! I welcome comments (hint, hint family . . . ) and feedback. Have a great day.

You all know how I love to coupon. It's my dorky little hobby. It frustrates my children. (Why can't we just buy Lucky Charms RIGHT NOW for $4.00 a box?!) Brent won't go to the store for me unless it's a dire emergency. (He'd rather buy tampons or a pregnancy test for me, sans coupon, than buy orange juice with one.) But come on folks! If I can get ALL this for free why would I not do that? It's like printing my own money! So, this was my haul yesterday (and not even my best one ever). I did have to pay $12.00 for the 12 cards, but I can expense those to the church for my new (super secret until Sunday) calling, so really, it's free to me. And, yes, we are back on the soda. You all knew the clean living wouldn't last forever. We're limiting it now, kind of. Oh well. I'm lovin' the coupons!!!

Also, I found this really cool website: where you can edit photos through your web browser. I've been playing around and it's really fun. Check it out. Of course it's free!


More Design Fun!

As promised, here are a few photos of the murals I have been working on over the past little while. Keep in mind that I am NOT a photographer and that I was only in charge of the painting of the walls. All the junk and clutter in the surrounding area is NOT MY IDEA!

This is what they call the "Tween Room". It's a space for older kids to hang out so they wanted bright and fun but NOT BABYISH. (No, the rug did not inspire the walls. I designed the mural first and the rug was just a happy accident. Sometimes you get lucky like that.)

Another view. The oddly placed cabinet and chalkboard were already there. I did my best to work around it.

From the main room looking in.

A detail of the shorter wall. This was really fun to do and the crisp, clean lines in between colors were sooo satisfying!

This area is called the Craft Room. Don't know why because it is where the little boys play video games. Maybe in another lifetime . . . They wanted something very child-like -- almost coloring book-ish. The giant grasshopper and ant pile? Not my idea. (Love those special requests!) The black underneath is chalkboard paint.

A detail of the left side.

A detail of the right side.

A cute little tree on the facing wall. Notice how banged up it is on the bottom. Kids!

So, that's it. Try not to laugh at me. We'll post some more pictures of Sydney's room when it's finally complete and other fun things I find to work on. Have a great Memorial Day. (And Happy Birthday yesterday, Kelly!)


Also . . .

Brent is the new Second Counsellor in the Elder's Quorum Presidency. Whoopee! Now I have a fun new secret calling I can't tell about until next week. Hee hee.

Interior Designing is Hard

It is. Not hard in the way that rocket science or heart surgery is hard, but hard no less. Partly because the average person cannot perform a triple bypass reasonably well on their own and, most likely will not even attempt it. Also, there is not a whole cable network of programming telling people that they can, in fact, perform triple bypasses all by themselves on a dime. It is also hard because interior design is so subjective. While, I imagine, there is ONE right way to perform an open heart surgery, there are as many right ways to renovate a bathroom as there are bathrooms needing to be renovated. There is some skill involved in designing (at least my parents hope so after paying for me get a 4 year degree), but there is just as much need for good taste, which you either have or you don't. And here's where it gets really tricky: you don't even have to have good taste. You just have to find the people with similar taste to your own who are willing to spend some money on their house.

I love what I do. Or more to the point, what I haven't done (on a paid basis) for the past several years while I have been raising my kids and am beginning to do again. I love everything about it. But I have a hard time acting like I know more than other people do. Which is really what we designers are doing. I am telling you what you want and you are believing me because I am also telling you that I am some kind of authority on the matter. I have a hard time pulling that off. I will stop and pat myself on the back here and say that I DO have an eye for color. I'm a color girl through and through and I can pick 'em like nobody's business. I have a hard time explaining why I pick them. It's really just an instinct. I do things because I like the way they look. Sure, I could probably trace all my "instincts" back to rules and theories I learned in school, but I generally don't. I just DO. And if you like what I do, you can pay me and I will do what I do for you.

I recently did a design consultation for a couple. They were the nicest people I've met in a long time. Surprisingly, I found that I was very confident in sharing my opinions with them. We picked paint colors for the two main rooms in no time flat. When they started asking me why I would paint all the trim and doors crisp white instead of staining it and all I could say was, "Because that's the way I like it," or, "Because, to me, that looks really fresh and clean and makes your paint colors pop," and they were OK with that as a reason I was a little bit stunned. These people trust me. Whoa. As the meeting went on and I got to know this couple better I was impressed by how differently other people see me. (As opposed to the totally chaotic view I have of myself.) Here was this man who reminded me so much of my dad telling me he had been intimidated by me. So much so that he had asked a mutual (female) friend to call me and ask if I'd be interested in taking on this project rather than just calling me himself. Huh. Weird. There I was, just a girl the same age as his daughter with a couple of opinions about paint colors and furniture placement. Real intimidating. So, life is weird. And I'm a little freaked out that after I left he went ahead with our plan to put a nice new door into his atrium and cut a door-sized hole in his wall right where I told him to. Yikes.


Rude People!

I am so fed up with the total lack of concern for the feelings of others in our society today! Twice today I was witness to behavior that made me shake my head in stunned silence. And I know that my life is pretty sheltered and these are far from the worst things going on in the world right now, but come on! Forget getting along, can't we all just leave each other alone?

Brent and I were out trimming the 18 foot tall ficus tree in the front yard this morning. By the way, we ARE feeling better, thanks for asking. (So polite, OUR friends are!) Not 100%, but, you know. Had to take advantage of the unseasonably cool weather we are having. So, we're out trimming the tree and this old lady drives by, slows to almost a stop, and gawks at us with a horrified look on her face for what felt like 5 minutes. It was probably more like 5 seconds. She was likely thinking, "What are those people doing out there in their pajamas, standing on that table, massacring that old tree like that. It looks crappy. I hope my property value doesn't decrease because of this." And she was correct on all accounts, but what business is it of hers how I trim my trees? In my own defense, I've been in my pajamas for the past day and a half and I wasn't about to shower before doing yard work. And I did put a bra on. Also, we don't own a ladder so we drug our old dining table out of the garage to elevate ourselves. Much like fancy, albeit low, scaffolding. And the tree looks as good as just about any in the neighborhood, really. A little lopsided, but it has charm. In my humble opinion.

So, yard work finished, we took the kids to the dollar movies today to make up for missing the drive-in last night. I know I should have set my expectations a little lower knowing we were at the dollar theater. That was my mistake. There was a lady with a freakishly large hair-do a few rows ahead of us. No big deal. How she wears her hair is her business. We adjusted ourselves accordingly so all the monsters could see the screen. It was the girls who came in after the movie had started and stood in front of me and Sydney for a full minute trying to decide if that was where they truly wanted to sit that I took offense to. Then. THEN, their mother comes in and says, in full conversational voice, "Do you really want to sit behind the huge head?!" Pardon me?! That "huge head" is a person with feelings who can hear you talking! Who do you think you are?! I was appalled, but the "huge head" didn't even turn around.

Maybe I'm making too big a deal of these things. Probably because I was scarred for life when Sydney threw a tantrum in a Wal-Mart when she was about 18 months and this mean old lady made me feel like crap as I was hurriedly struggling to get her out of the store. Her children would never have been allowed to act like that when they were young, I was informed. Well, you know what old lady, I don't care!!!! They didn't even have Wal-Marts when you were a young mother so you have NO IDEA how your children would have acted in this situation. And you don't know how long a walk it is from the fabric department in the very back corner of the store to the front door when your toddler is screaming and throwing herself on the floor and you are trying to drag her along without having anyone feel the need to call CPS. And I can wear whatever I want and stand on anything I want to trim my darn lopsided ficus tree and there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it! Yeah!!!

Whew!! That feels better. Today was actually a very pleasant family day. Hope yours was nice, too.


". . . stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. . ."

This passage of scripture from gospel doctrine last Sunday kept passing through my head last night as Brent and I took turns sprinting for the bathroom. We are sorely afflicted. Nice kick off to Summer, huh? Dylan had this fun stomach flu earlier in the week. Brent and I came down with it after dinner last night. Today it's Riley. Do we dare hope the Sydney will pass through unscathed? Not likely. SOOOOO, the swimming this afternoon -- cancelled. The drive-in movie tonight -- cancelled. Wah, wah, waaaaaah.


School's Out For Summer

Today was the last day of school for the monsters and, yes, my baby "graduated" from kindergarten. He looked so sweet walking across the makeshift stage in his paper cap and accepting his certificate for practicing the life skill of friendship. (He got to choose what his award would be.) It nearly brought a tear to my eye. He has struggled a little bit this year finding his place in school. His teacher just doesn't "get" him the way I do and he's really shy around people he doesn't know well. It has been fun to see him grow and overcome those obstacles this year. I watched how excited the kids were to see him (he was sick yesterday and missed school) when we arrived and how all the little boys wanted to sit right next to him on the "rainbow lines". Even his teacher gave him a great big hug before we left. It did my heart good. So, here's to summer break! Here's to sleeping in (on the days we don't work), hanging out at the pool, and soaking up some sun. Here's to bonding with my kids for the next 8 weeks. (And here's to going back on August 4th!) Lovin' it!
Dylan with classmate Katie and Mrs Foster, his teacher.

Dylan with his friend, Brock.

Riley with his friend, Aiden.

Sydney with her gaggle of friends.

Dad, A Word of Caution . . .

Many of you know that my dad is an avid golfer. After a discussion I had with Dylan this morning I thought it a matter of critical importance that I pass along a warning to Dad before he hits the links again. (Also any of you who may be planning a golf outing in the near future.) Dylan has just informed me that you can shatter the moon. I'll say it again -- SHATTER THE MOON! How, you may be wondering. Well, by hitting it really hard with a golf ball. That's how. (Duh.) So, please go easy with the irons out there, folks. For the good of us all.


A Monster is Born

Yesterday I was reminiscing and I think I can pinpoint the exact day that our eldest child became a monster. (And you simply must know that monster is really a term of endearment in our home, much like stinky and poopy. Quirks, you know.) She was just a baby, couldn't have been older than 14 months, and we were driving in the car on a Saturday afternoon. I recall leaving IKEA and Brent asking if there was anything else we needed to do while we were out. Then the sweetest little voice came from the back seat, plain as day. Sydney said, "Go to Old Navy -- get new dress". It was so disarmingly precocious and altogether unexpected that we simply did what we were told. When we got home we looked at each other and said, "What have we done? We've created a monster." Actually, we've done that with all our kids. They are just like me and Brent in almost every way. They LOVE going out to eat and getting new clothes and they HATE cleaning the house. Yep, those is my kids. Riley got some new tennis shoes the other night and you would have thought it was Christmas come early. Same thing a few weeks ago when they got new summer shorts. (Who knew they still made Garanimals?!) Happiest kids in town. Weird. You may also recall when Riley got that Pokemon shirt at Goodwill in Vegas and we kept finding him up in his suitcase folding and refolding and just admiring it's general beauty. Double weird. Oh well, time to go decide where we're going out for dinner. (Kidding! Really . . . )


Weekend Update

My weekend in five words:
  • camping
  • alchemy
  • cease and desist

Allow me to explain:

1. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the Father/Son camp out. They slept in their clothes, didn't brush their teeth, peed on the ground, and, judging by the looks of them when they arrived home, rolled around in the dirt. All of those things sound painfully awful to me, but you've never seen a happier group of males than my boys on Saturday morning.

2. I found Dylan sitting in the kitchen studying some rocks he had picked up in the front yard. I just had to ask what he was doing and he told me that he was trying to figure out how he could turn those rocks into golden nuggets. (Huh?) I told him that I might be able to help and found him a bottle of metallic gold craft paint and a brush. The mischievous gleam in his eye was almost blinding as he oh-so-carefully painted each of the rocks. Now he thinks that he is rich. A little harmless fun, I guess.

3. Riley no longer wants to be written about on this blog. At least not anything that will embarrass him. Which is EVERYTHING right now. He doesn't want funny things he says to be on the Internet where ANYONE can read about them. What is he thinking? Who does he think is going to be reading this?! He used to love being on the Top Ten lists we e-mailed out. This will probably be read by fewer people. (I know lots of folks humored me and read all this crap when it landed directly in their in box, but to make the effort to type in a web address . . . that's really asking a lot.) So, henceforth, when a story about him has potential for humor, I will refer to him as Two. Unless I forget and write Riley and then you'll all know that I meant to not use his real name, right?


Yummy Summer Salad

It's about 100* here now, consistently, and I just don't feel like cooking anymore. I dug out this recipe and we had it for dinner yesterday. Yummy! I thought I'd pass it along to all of you. Soon to come : a delicious cold tortellini salad that we had at enrichment last week. Get excited. (Leslie, don't be getting any fancy-pants ideas with this salad . . . I mean it.)
Spinach Salad with Strawberries
(Don't let the name turn you off like it did my kids. They ate it and loved it.)
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1 lb. strawberries, sliced
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (season with salt and pepper)*

Mix together and toss with Poppy Seed Dressing (about half the recipe is probably plenty, unless you like a soggier salad than I do). Top with Caramelized Almonds. (*About once a week I cook 6 or 8 chicken breasts in my crock pot -- just dump them in there with a cup of water and cook on high 3-4 hours -- then I package them up in freezer bags and keep them in the fridge so I always have some ready. Just a little tip.)

Poppy Seed Dressing

  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 C. vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. orange juice
  • 1/2 C. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C. pineapple juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1-1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin

Combine all ingredients except oil and poppy seeds in blender. Mix well. While blending, drizzle oil in slowly. Add poppy seeds and beat 1 more minute. Let dressing chill about 5 minutes to gel a bit.

Caramelized Almonds

  • 2 C. slivered almonds
  • 1 C. white sugar

Combine almonds and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Turn heat to high and begin stirring nut mixture. Stir constantly to avoid burning. (I burned mine yesterday, darn it!) When they appear light brown and begin to smell toasted, remove from heat. Continue stirring for 1 minute. As they cool, stir every few minutes to prevent clumping.

Good luck and enjoy! By the way, Brent got a new calling yesterday. I can't say much about it because he hasn't been sustained and some friends from the ward could be reading this, but we had an appointment with the stake president before church yesterday. Good times. At least I think so. Next week . . .


Girls Night

When the boys went camping we had girls night. First we went to dinner at Chili`s then we went to see a play called The 12th Night by Shakespeare.It was pretty funny. After that we came home and ate Ben and Jerry's as we watched Napoleon Dynamite. Then we got in bed and watched t.v for a little. The next morning we gave each other facials, manicures, and pedicures. Now all we have to do is wait for the boys to come home.

I promised Sydney that if she let me sleep in until 7:30 she could write on my blog today. She likes to make me breakfast on these girl's weekends -- usually at 6:30 a.m. Today I made it until 7:45, even though she got up at 5:30. Love that kid! The only thing I have to add to her account is that we had FUN!!!!!! It's not often that we can get rid of those stinky boys so we really try to live it up when we do. I tried to cover all the bases : a little Shakespeare, a little Napoleon, a little spicy, a little sweet. Good times had by all, I think.


Sleeping Through the Night, or "He had the catfish, too," and Other Night Time Confessions

So, talking to Brent's mom for mother's day we learned that or newest nephew, Shaw, is already sleeping through the night. At, like, three weeks. Jeff and Kristen, those lucky dogs! Got me thinking about Brent. That poor man has not slept through the night in about ten years. Between Dylan's night terrors, Riley's blood sugars, Sydney's occasional bad dreams, and my ability to sleep through anything, he has had his work cut out for him. I've pleaded with him time and time again to just kick me so I wake up when one of the kids goes off in the night, but he's too much of a gentleman to do it. I realized that he really had it bad when, a couple nights ago, I woke myself up talking in my sleep. I was dreaming about riding in a car with my mom and my brother, Casey. We passed a restaurant which mom loved and Casey hated. Diplomatic as I always try to be I said, "The one thing I learned is to never eat the catfish at that place." Mom asks Casey what he had eaten there and I replied, exuberantly, "HE HAD THE CATFISH, TOO!" At that point I realized that I was speaking aloud. In the real world, not the dream world. I quickly rolled over and went back to sleep, hoping that Brent hadn't heard. No such luck. I've since been wondering what else I have revealed to him in my unconscious state. And what restaurant we were talking about, because I don't typically frequent establishments that serve catfish. And I'm damn sure I've never ordered it. Maybe for father's day I should just check us all into a sleep disorder clinic and solve this problem once and for all. I love that man for all he puts up with.


Look at how creative my little sister is . . .

Leslie is smarter than me (graduating magna cum laude from UNLV this weekend) and now more creative, too?! Where is the justice in the world? This is her version of my fruit pizza if you couldn't already tell.

Reading at a 9th Grade Level

I will attempt to preemptively address any concerns about my reading material of choice. Yes, I am 34 years old. Yes, I have a college degree. Granted it was in interior design and, as one boy I dated (ONCE) told me, did not require any heavy mental lifting. Nevertheless, I DID graduate (and kept a Trustee's Scholarship for all four years, thank you). No, I do not read at a 9th grade level. But I have a 9 year old daughter who does and I can't have her just reading willy-nilly through the Young Adult section of the library this summer. Who can forget being young and coming across Judy Blume's Forever for the first time? Or even Are you there God? It's Me, Margaret. I'm not saying I would censor very much of what she may potentially choose, but I would like to know what she's reading so we can talk about it. So I can prepare her for the grown up decisions that too many kids are having to make these days. And, let's be honest, there's a part of me that enjoys these books. I like to think it keeps me young at heart. Also, one of our babysitters borrowed The Collected Works of Jane Austen, my go-to choice for intelligent literature. She immediately became my favorite babysitter when we came home at, like, eleven and the TV was turned off and she was reading Pride and Prejudice. Anyway, while I want to inspire and encourage my daughter to enjoy the "best books", I also see that she she may be a little young yet for Mr. Darcy. If anyone has suggestions for appropriate reading for a precocious preteen it would be much appreciated. Until then Sis and I will explore the library together.


And the winner is . . .

. . . Taylor, for suggesting this classic for our new desktop wallpaper. Can't wait for Brent to get home. (He's watching the Lakers at his friend's house.) If this fetching young man doesn't make you want to watch The King of Kong nothing will. And here's why Taylor wins. This is what he had to say after watching the movie: "Billy Mitchell represents everything that is wrong with semi-professional competitive classic arcade gaming today. He also represents everything that is right with southern florida hot sauce factory/small restaurant ownership, so you tell me how that works.... it's a paradox." I love it!

I Have a Dream

OK, so I HAD a dream, past tense. Actually it was the night before last, but it has taken me this long to wrap my brain around the weirdness of it. Brent and I were on another cruise with our friends who went with us to Ensenada. This time we were cruising to . . .um, Paris. That's some tricky navigation right there. When we got to Paris it was raining and Brent kept apologizing for "ruining everything", as if he had made it rain. As if a little rain could ruin a cruise to Paris! We were all trying to decide what we wanted to do that day. Everyone had wanted to climb the rock wall, but the rain made that idea less than fun. I suggested (passive-aggressively, as usual) that if there was nothing else to do maybe we could get off the boat and go see the Eiffel Tower. No one was really in to that idea. It was raining, of course, and there would be too many tourists, and we'd have to wait in line forever to go up to the top, and it really wasn't that cool anyway. I suggested that maybe we could just go somewhere NEAR the Eiffel Tower and have a baguette and some hot chocolate in a little cafe. The rain, in my dream, was absolutely, perfectly French and would be but little bother to us. Again my idea was poo-pooed and everyone decided to just go back to our cabins and play Guitar Hero. And that is the last I saw of Paris. What does it all mean?! Maybe Brent and my friends are holding me back from doing what I really want in life. Except that they are always the ones looking for opportunities for me to use my skills and supporting me in pursuing my dreams. Unless . . . what I really want in life is to do NOTHING and they are FORCING all this WORK upon me. Whatever! I think dreams are such a funny jumble of memories and snippets of what's going on in life at the moment. The unfettered, sleeping brain is a wacky thing. (You may recall my dream a while ago about Rosie O'Donnell and Christopher Lowell teaching at my high school . . . Wacky.)


The Trifecta

I have a new goal in life. And it's a good one, too. Last Wednesday for early release day Riley had a friend come over to play. He stayed from 12:30 until his dad got off work at 5:30. It was no big deal -- he's a great kid. Here's what got me thinking . . . this kid's older brother also went over to a friend's house that afternoon leaving mom at home ALONE for a whole afternoon. Ooh la la. Then on Friday Riley had a friend sleep over. This kid only has one older sister and I thought, "Wow! If his parents could have farmed her out for the evening it would have been almost as good as a vacation for them." Which lead me to my new goal. I call it The Trifecta. All three of my children sleeping over at their respective friends' houses on the same night. It will be difficult, to be sure, since we are pretty choosy about who we will do sleepovers with, but I believe it is possible. And just the thought of that bright, shiny victorious evening will be enough to get me through many, many ordinary old days. I'm a believer!


All You Need is Love

Brent took the boys to see Iron Man tonight. I know, I know, it's supposed to be family night. Don't you judge me. Now that Dylan has learned to read he reads aloud everything he sees. It's pretty cute. He was reading all the trivia and whatnot that comes on the screen before the movie and read the words All You Need is Love. Brent asked, "Is that really all you need?" Dylan thought for a moment, rolled his eyes and said, "NO." Brent asked him what else you need to which D replied, "Faith". AWWWWWWWWW. Is he the sweetest 6 year old in the world or what? This after he set the table for breakfast this morning all on his own. I came out in the kitchen and saw him standing up on the counter. I was about to yell at him to get down when I noticed he had five spoons out and he was counting out five bowls. So nice. Moments like that make all the occasional crap worthwhile. I had a friend a while back who would call me sometimes when she was struggling with her kids and say, "Remind me why it's worth it!" She has since moved away and our kids have all grown up some, but I'll file today away in case she ever calls again.


Fruit Pizza

A few weeks ago I enthused about this Fruit Pizza in our April Top Ten List. It is truly delicious. A couple of you asked for the recipe, so here it is:
  • 1 pk. (18 oz.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 pk. (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 C. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • sliced fruit for the top ( I usually do strawberries, kiwi, and canned pineapple, but blackberries and mandarin oranges have been tasty when I can find them on sale.)
Preheat oven to 325*. Roll cookie dough out on a greased pizza pan. I love my Pampered Chef large round baking stone, but anything works. Even a cookie sheet will do the trick if you can't find a pizza pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I NEVER do the toothpick thing. Reducing my carbon footprint by saving trees. Or something.) Cool completely. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled cookie crust to within 1/2 inch of edge. Arrange fruit as desired on top of the cream cheese mixture. If you're just the tiniest bit OCD like me you'll arrange the fruit in concentric circles, making it almost too pretty to eat. If, not, you can probably just dump it on there. In theory it should taste the same. I wouldn't know. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. For anyone who cares, it's 28g. of carbs per slice (1/16 of whole pizza). Enjoy! I make this recipe a little too often and I've got the junk in the trunk to prove it.
P.S. My family spoiled me today for mother's day. Bagels and cream cheese with orange juice smoothies for breakfast and homemade Bolognese sauce on pasta for dinner. Lots of hugs and homemade stuff from school. I love it!


Submitting Cheerfully

So, this blogging thing is new and fun. I'm probably not always going to be posting every day. Anyway . . . I've been doing some thinking lately (which hardly ever turns out well) and I've developed a new philosophy on life. Actually it's not "new" because I learned it from the Book of Mormon, but it's kind of new to me. I think "The Secret" is a load of crap. (Sorry to those of you who are fans. I had a long uncomfortable conversation about this with the girl who cut my hair a while back who believes The Secret like a religion.) I guess "load of crap" is a little strong. I just think it's not entirely true, and not at all a secret. My new philosophy is called "Submitting Cheerfully". I have wasted so much time in life wishing I was _________. (Older, younger, thinner, smarter, cuter, funnier, richer, free-er, insert your wish here.) It's just so dumb. All my wishing and worrying didn't get me any closer to being any of those things. Nor did it get me farther away. (Here's where The Secret falls apart for me.) It just got me nothing. So, I decided to cheerfully submit to whatever is happening in life, each day. For instance, today: I stayed up too late last night waiting for Brent to get home from Guys Night Out and then had to get up at 5:45 to go to work at the gym. I could have complained about being tired or not wanting to go to that stupid job. I could have complained about why Brent even needs Guys Night Out when he has me right here at home. I would have complained . . . BEFORE. But today I just got up, showered, found matching socks for all the kids and did what had to be done. With a smile on my face. A genuine smile. Because I wasn't wasting energy wishing today were different I was able to just be happy about having TODAY. Plus, it's Friday so that REALLY helps. Anyway, this is probably just the anti-anxiety meds talking, but it is good to be me right now.


Battle of the Wall Paper

Brent and I love to laugh, but more than that we love to make each other laugh. Several years ago I began a running joke that continues today. He was swooning from a man-crush on Orlando Bloom as Legolas in Lord of the Rings. Unbeknownst to him, I replaced the lovely photo of our children with a spicy pic of Orlando as our desktop wall paper. He laughed. A lot. Then, every couple of days (just when he thought it was over) I would switch it up and find a newer, spicier photo of Orlando. Good times. The fun eventually faded (as so often happens in a marriage of significant length) and the lovely children found their way back to the desktop. Until a few months ago. I thought it was high time we revive the fun. And I'm not opposed to beating a dead horse. I put an even newer, even spicier pic of O-dog on the desktop.
He enjoyed the joke, but I could tell his laughter had a ring of condescension. "How sad that she couldn't think of anything new," he must have been thinking. He always thinks he's the funniest! So, to kick things up a notch, I changed it to a picture of his latest man-crush, Jason Bourne. Ha HA!
He took the bait and surprised me with this beauty of my man-crush. Ooh la la.

I almost hated to switch it, but in the name of humor, I replaced it with this hot number of Kevin James. (Brent is often told that he reminds people of the king of Queens. It's pretty true, you know.)
Well, this image has been sitting on my desktop for weeks. As much as I enjoy old K.J. , if I have to look at that man again I am going to scream. But I'm stuck. What can I replace it with?! HELP!!!!!!!

Every fiber of my being is screaming NOOOOO!

OK, so . . . . against my better judgement I am blogging. I, Amy G, am timidly stepping into to 21st century. I, who dream about being June Cleaver and vacuuming my living room in high heels and pearls, am trying to become a modern gal. We'll see how it goes. Aryn and Sarah, you're welcome. (And thanks for the kind words and encouragement . . . even June Cleaver appreciated a pat on the back sometimes, I bet.) Let me assure you that I am not fundamentally opposed to blogs. I read them. I enjoy them. I secretly have always wanted one. I have been resistant to the idea of blogging mostly because I don't really have anything to say. Also because I'm pretty sure (if my children are any indication) no one really listens to me anyway. With that said, my kids are pretty cool. I love them. They are always doing something ridiculous. And I flatter myself enough to think that everyone wants to hear about them. Thus . . . My 3 Monsters.
Enjoy. (Or don't -- I'll keep writing anyway.)

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